Preview: Magic at Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks survived a four-game, five-day stretch with three victories and try to avoid a letdown when the injury-plagued Orlando Magic visit on Monday. Veteran Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 40 as the Mavericks edged New Orleans on Saturday for their sixth win in nine games and stand tied for seventh in the Western Conference. The Magic have lost seven straight and end a five-game trip with leading scorer Arron Afflalo, among other players, who are either out or questionable.Dallas will likely be without leading rebounder Shawn Marion for the fourth straight game due to a shoulder injury, but boasts five other players scoring in double figures. The Mavericks rank 28th in the league in rebounding and Orlando has struggled on the boards without 7-0 center Nikola Vucevic, who is out with a concussion. The Magic lost their last five games by an average of 19.6 points, including a 120-94 defeat at Denver on Saturday.TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Orlando), FSN Southwest (Dallas)ABOUT THE MAGIC (10-27): Afflalo, averaging 20.8 points, missed the Denver game with a strained right foot and veteran guard Jameer Nelson left in the third quarter with a sprained right index finger. Maurice Harkless, who started in place of Afflalo, was also limited to 17 minutes by sore knee and it is uncertain whether any of them can play against Dallas. On the bright side, rookie Victor Oladipo is averaging 16 points over the last five games and Tobias Harris scored a season-high 22 on Sunday.ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (22-16): Nowitzki rebounded from his second single-digit scoring effort of the month with 64 points combined over the last two games and leads the team at 21.3 per contest. Monta Ellis gives Dallas one of the league's best 1-2 scoring punches, averaging 20.1 points and a team-best 5.9 assists, while Jose Calderon adds 11.9 points and 4.8 assists. Veteran guard Vince Carter, who played 97 games over parts of two seasons with Orlando, is averaging 14 points in his last five games and 11.5 overall.BUZZER BEATERS1. Dallas C DeJuan Blair had a season-high 18 points in the 108-100 victory at Orlando on Nov. 16 -- the Mavericks' fourth straight win over the Magic.2. The Magic are averaging 86.9 points during their seven-game losing streak and stand 24th in the league at 95.4 for the season.3. Mavericks rookie G Shane Larkin, averaging 3.2 points, left the last game with an ankle injury and his status is uncertain.PREDICTION: Mavericks 104, Magic 90
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